LIVE REVIEW: RIVERFEST ELORA 2017



Artists and fans gathered along the banks of the Grand River for a weekend-full of music, art, food and nature - collectively known as Riverfest Elora. Bissell Park played host to thousands of festival-goers and a wide variety of musical acts for three days across three stages, for their ninth edition. The small town festival continues to bring out huge names - including this year's headliners Monster Truck, MGMT and Gogol Bordello

Although big bands - and crowds, make their way through the park year after year, the ecological footprint left behind is minimal - thanks to the efforts of the Riverfest team. With not allowing plastic water bottles into the vicinity and promoting sustainability, Riverfest combines consciousness with culture.

Day one of Riverfest kicked off in the late afternoon with a performance by a group of talented local kids from Adrian Jones Music School under the moniker Rivercital. As the crowd grew, the presence of the on-stage acts did as well - from Mother Mother to the evening's main men in Monster Truck. The rain didn't stop the crowd, as they sang along to Mother Mother's current hit "The Drugs" among other tracks from their most recent release No Culture. As the lights dimmed and the Hamilton-based rockers took the stage, the energy was undeniably at its peak. From "Seven Seas Blues" to "The Enforcer," Monster Truck ploughed through an electrifying set list to close out night one of the festival.

On the heels of an outstanding opening night, hopes were high for Saturday's festivities. Following a morning yoga session for the early birds at the Wax on Wheels Stage, the music began with the weekend's one-man-house-band Peter Piper. MGMT sent "Electric Feels" across the crowd, as the Saturday night headliners but not before stellar performances by fellow rockers The Dirty Nil, Hollerado and K. Flay. While day two's bill was seemingly rock-heavy, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Skratch Bastid got people dancing with a mashup of hits from every decade including songs from Michael Jackson, Missy Elliot and - of course, the Fresh Prince soundtrack. DJ Jazzy Jeff made a shout out during his set to the late Chester Bennington and had the crowd singing along to a mix of Linkin Park's "In The End." Partner and Darcys had the Koop stage moving as well - Partner with some simplistic but infectious indie songs and Darcys with a blend of electronic rock amidst a backdrop of neon lights and blow-up beach floaties.

Eclectic gypsy punk-rockers Gogol Bordello were a wild end to the weekend on the final night of Riverfest '17. Earlier in the day, the Boo Radley Project remain memorable not only for their unique entrance and well-received set on the Wax on Wheels stage but also their live band karaoke that went on throughout the weekend. Preceded by members of the Fergus Pipe Band, the guys from Boo Radley parted the crowd, waving their arms from side to side, and made their way to the stage for some indie funk fused jazz music. Neon Dreams put on a party under the tent at the Koop Stage with a handful of original tracks including "Marching Bands" and a classic dance-along "Macarena" session. USS and Sloan brought some solid Canadian alternative rock to the main stage - with highlights being "Work Shoes" and "The Good in Everyone" respectively. USS' Jason "Human Kebab" got concert-goers pumping their fists before taking the leap to crowd surf. Ash, who had previously in the day joined My Son The Hurricane for their collaboration track "Pigeon Park," held things down at centre stage as Human Kebab spun on his head while simultaneously spinning his turntables. Gogol Bordello delivered the grand finale with each member of the colourful gypsy rock group delivering high-energy performances, which made for a truly head-turning show. This particular set was undoubtedly the most energetic and certainly delivered the most diverse, unique blend of sounds.

Having already announced Canada's own country rockers - Blue Rodeo for the 2018 lineup, there is no question that the tenth annual Riverfest will be one you don't want to miss out on!













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